In theory I don’t care about being liked or disliked. At the same time, I think feeling ostracised from the herd is a universal fear, given our dependence on others. "Anxiety and fear are the key drivers, but hypervigilance also works to maintain anxiety and fear," says Dr Oliver. "If someone [is] perfectionistic, they are more likely to be hypervigilant." My friend Bea, 32, often worries that people don’t like her: "I keep thinking over what I said or did. For the most part I read too much into tone and body language
. I mine for details. I’ve always been self-conscious to the gaze of other people. I think perhaps because I don’t want tension, so I seek ways to make a conversation flow even if that means feeling uncomfortable myself. If it doesn’t work, I feel I am doing something wrong."